With her haunting singing style--a zesty Luso-African mélange of Bessie Smith and Billie Holliday--the Cape Verdean singer Cesaria Evora
put the moving and melancholy musical genre called morna
on the map with her critically acclaimed recordings Miss Perfumado
and Cafe Atlantico
. São Vicente
is named for Evora's island homeland and is augmented with percussion, rhythm section, strings, and horns. Evora's songs of love and longing range from the classy midtempo strains of "São Vicente Di Longe" and the carnival dances of "Nutridinha" to the beautiful piano/vocal duet "Negue" with Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés. She also swings the Cuban danzon/cha cha cha
on "Lindo Mimosa" with the celebrated Cuban group Orquesta Aragon. The singer rocks with R&B handclaps on "Hommen Na Meio Di' Homen" and testifies on the gospel-influenced "Bondade e Maldade." Her duets with Brazilian Caetano Veloso on "Tiempo y Silencio" and "Regresso," and with American legend Bonnie Raitt, add more flavors to this tasty musical dish. --Eugene Holley Jr.